I've always been curious about the strange little shape sticking up out of the sea. It's visible from so many places in Hastings. I can't quite see it from my window, the view does not stretch far enough west.
We started off with lunch at Pablo's at the Waterfront - had only ever been to Simply Italian before, but when we took our grand daughter there last year she was so badly behaved that we did not dare go back. Anyway, our salads at Pablo's were excellent. Battleaxe would recommend.
|Pablo's at Sovereign Harbour|
We didn't think so - it was a fabulous sunny day, the sea was calm, and unusually for this summer, there was no wind. They cancel the trips when it is rough. The Light Tower is six miles from the shore, far enough to get very choppy indeed.
While waiting to board the boat, we watched huge fish begging for bread along the water's edge. Apparently they are grey mullet, and not appetising for people, but many cormorants were watching, beady-eyed, from the rooftops.
|Huge grey mullet|
|Our boat awaits....|
The boat was a semi-inflatable RHIB - like the Hastings blow-up life boat. Apparently it has a top speed of 60mph, but even at its usual 25mph it uses a gallon of petrol every minute. It takes twelve passengers and two crew. We all put on clammy waterproofs with life jackets over the top, and stowed ourselves aboard.
When you leave Sovereign Harbour you have to get out of the marina into the sea through one of two giant locks. Hanging around before getting into into the lock, then sitting waiting for the water level to drop etc. reminded me why messing about in boats has never appealed to Battleaxe. I just don't have the patience for all that faffing, messing with bits of rope, fiddling with fenders (I think those are the things that go over the side to stop the boat bumping other boats?)
Eventually, the lock gates creaked open with infinite slowness, and we were out. Two seals basking on a sandbank. I made a note to photograph them when we came back, but of course the tide had risen by then, and they had disappeared.
Our boat set off briskly, straight out towards the tower. Despite the calmness of the sea, you had authentic powerboat bouncing from wave to wave, or 'pumba pumba pumba' as Philosopher so eloquently described it. You can't see a lot, because the front of the boat rises up, and spray obscures the side view, but we arrived at the tower quick enough. Built to replace a light vessel in 1971, it had a very retro look about it. It was manned until 1994. Apparently the light only has a 35 watt bulb, but is visible 12 nautical miles away. The lighthouse is solar powered.
|Spray... with Beachy Head and its lighthouse in the distance|
|The Sovereign Light tower comes into view|
We circled slowly round the tower several times, and went up close underneath it. The sea boiled and surged impressively. It looked a very hard and risky job to clamber up the iron ladder to the little door at the base of the platform - no way could we do that. Apparently they can have 10 metre waves out there.
|Sea boiling about the place|
Back into the lock again, repeated the faffing with boat paraphernalia. A bloke on a sport fishing charter boat held up various huge fishes they had caught, for us to see. I felt sorry for the fish.
|Back into the lock|
|Waiting in the lock|
The trip was enjoyable, something you aren't going to do every day!
STOP PRESS - I got a really lovely comment on my last post from someone called +Sandra Jones but could not reply to it. Thanks, Sandra, if you are reading this, and please do whatever you have to do so I can reply to your comments!